29 June 2018

A Tale of Two Summers

     Summer is a more challenging season than winter for people who live in the streets.

     In fact, summer is not necessarily a time our homeless neighbors look forward to. Here’s a tale of two summers, starting with the story of Mark from last summer:

     Mark was stumbling through the crowds outside the College World Series as dehydration from drinking, added to the heat, was bringing on side effects he’d never had before from his medications. For the homeless, dehydration in the summer is actually a bigger cause of death than exposure in the winter.

     But this summer, a friend began bringing Mark to lunch at Open Door Mission’s Garland Thompson Men’s Center to help him escape the heat and to get at least one nourishing meal a day. Today Mark is sober, out of the heat and in recovery at Garland Thompson Men’s Center in our New Life Recovery Program. His life and treatment are more stable than they’ve been in years. And the public benefit for bringing a homeless person off the streets is $35,000 per person, per year.

     It’s a tale of two summers for our hurting and homeless neighbors. One summer some people can be stumbling and wounded through a haze of illness or intoxication; the next they could be sheltered and in recovery.

     It’s a tale of two summers, and thanks to people like you, the tale is getting better at Open Door Mission for hundreds of people in need this year.

Candace Gregory

28 June 2018

What Does Your Check Say About You?

     I am privileged to help out processing incoming checks for the Development Department. Some days (and seasons) we receive lots of checks, and sometimes, not so many. During the past few years I have gotten to “know” our donors through their checks. It is easy to tell someone’s interest, beliefs or favorite sport/team by the artwork on their check. We do get a lot of “faith based” checks, the Huskers definitely rule college sports, but there are others that express other interests. I wonder if people realize that their checks act as a billboard for their concerns, interests and beliefs. Who it is written to shows what they value.
     The variety of handwriting is amazing…some are neatly hand printed, you can tell those that learned the Palmer method of cursive and then the IT people who have the computer print them off. Cursive writing has an unbelievable amount of styles, from readable to very unreadable. Spidery handwriting brings memories of my grandparents writing…people still faithful in their giving. Bold writing, done with a flair, makes me think of a younger group of people. They may be just starting their support of Open Door Mission. Then there is the rushed or scribbled handwriting… are these people really busy or just in a hurry? I notice that they did take time to make sure Open Door Mission is supported in their mission.
     Then there is the cash donations, they are equally telling. The person that carefully tape 6 quarters to the receipt…how important to him that he give back to God. Crumpled dollar bills, carefully soothed out but still showing wear and tear of a lot of use now go to feed a child. Even tens and twenties carefully counted and wrapped in a sheet paper before being mailed have stories to tell.
      These checks and money are representative the vast variety of donors that support Open Door Mission. So whether the donation is quarters or $10,000 checks each gift is precious in God’s sight and in ours. The widow’s mite or the rich man’s abundance, all come together to change the lives of the homeless and hopeless. Thank you to all our donors, you donation makes a different.

Maggie Cope
Gift In Kind Coordinator

27 June 2018

Daughters of the King

     Those that know me know I love to teach. Teaching some ladies at the Lydia House is one of my
greatest blessings & joy. Recently I did a module on self-worth, emphasizing they were “Princesses” because they are “daughters of the King of Kings”. They find their worth in Christ, they are princesses & therefore they can do anything because the King of Kings supports them.
     I gave them a saying my niece had designed for me and a tiara to wear. I was surprised at the impact that simple little gift made. Now when anyone joins my class the “regulars” make sure the new students get a saying & tiara too. It is a blessing to teach princesses.

Maggie Cope
Gift In Kind Coordinator

26 June 2018

Qualities of a Persevering Team

     I shared this today to Lydia House Staff.  This message was preached on Sunday and it really encouraged me.  I think of these are also qualities of a persevering team!
     The one that spoke to me the most was spurring on the fainthearted, not giving up when things get hard but pressing into God and the ministry He gave us.

Colossians 4:7-18
Qualities of a Persevering Church—CityLight Church Pastor Gavin Johnson

 1. Creates a culture of encouragement
       - Colossians 4:7 - Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear           brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.
       - We are our own worst critics
       - We do well to encourage each other!

  2. Lives as a spiritual family
       - Colossians 4:9 - He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear                   brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is                         happening here.
       - They are rooting for each other

   3. Works as a diverse team
        - Colossians 4:10-11 - My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his                      greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received                  instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus,                  who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews                    among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a              comfort to me.
        - What are gaps you see?
        - What passion do you have?

    4. Devoted to God’s Word
         - Colossians 4:12 - Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ                 Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that                 you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
         - Church has a high view of God’s Word
         - Love the Bible and not be stiff, rigid and angry.  Still show the JOY of                 Jesus

    5. Celebrate other Churches
         - Colossians 4:16 - After this letter has been read to you, see that it is                 also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the               letter from Laodicea.
         - Not in competition

     6. Spurs on the fainthearted
         - Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have                      received in the Lord.”
         - A persevering church spurs on the faint-hearted.  It’s about completing             the ministry you have received from the Lord.  Not giving up because                 it’s hard.  Not going through the motions, it’s pressing into God even                 more.

      7. Stays rooted in the Gospel of Grace
         - I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains.                     Grace be with you.
         - Jesus persevered!

I pray we would be people that give it our all, that we would not give up because we have a bump in the road, but instead would say Yes Lord I am going to complete the ministry you gave me!

Trudy Woodward 
Lydia House Director

25 June 2018

Heat and Homeless Neighbors

     Do you remember your school days? Sometime in April you began to count down how many days were left until summer vacation. You knew summer would promise a few weeks of freedom from the everyday grind, and you couldn’t wait for it to come.

     What a lot of us – even those of us who ended up working at Open Door Mission –  didn’t know then was that, across the United States, summer actually proves to be more deadly than winter for our homeless neighbors. They are in far greater risk for hypothermia or heatstroke, especially if they have no access to some place where they can get in out of the sun. Medication like antidepressants can prevent the body from sweating, contributing to overheating. Heat also tends to make breathing problems worse.

     Many homeless people have no access to fresh water, as they are barred from public restaurants and stores. Even when they do have such access, many homeless people won’t drink enough because they don’t have easy access to a restroom on the streets. 

     Simple food, water and shelter at Open Door Mission can make a life-changing difference for people spending this summer in the streets. That’s why we’re so grateful to a generous community who step up to offer what they can to help neighbors in need beat the heat! Thanks so much for your caring hearts!

The Staff at Open Door Mission


22 June 2018

Dental Equipment for Open Door Mission

     I just got word that a dentist is donating over $10,000.00 worth of dental equipment: chair, lamps, portable dental unit, x-ray, etc. A dentist I contacted will pick all of the equipment up and deliver it here to the Mission, THIS WEEK. He will also have a technician with him to set everything up and make sure all is in working order for us! 


     I have contacted the Omaha District Dental Society President and she is sure we can get dentists to come volunteer two (or more) hours a month at different times! Steve Frazee, Open Door Mission's Senior Program Director and I are working on the location of the new dental clinic, but I'm too excited tell you all that IT'S HAPPENING!!!

Kate Fischer, LIMHP
Health and Healing Center Director

21 June 2018

Renewed Life

     Yesterday, a young lovely lady came to me after shopping and said, "I want to say thanks for everything you guys do here. I was here 6 moths ago and I was hopeless  and homeless. That day I felt discouraged and disoriented, but you listened to me and prayed for me. I felt the love of God and since then, I started going to church, God gave me a good job, I just got my apartment and I feel great, loved and hopeful."
     This is what God is doing every day in the life of so many people. I am so blessed to serve here at the Timberlake Outreach Center at Open Door Mission. God is in control. We as servants of Him just have to want a personal relationship with him, want to be vessels of his Love. Just wake up every morning with the expectation that God has something greater for you every day, so that you can be a blessing to every person you encounter.  



Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker


20 June 2018

Testimony of a Changed Life

     One of the fun things about my job is getting to interact with volunteers and hear their hearts, learn about why they have come to serve and be able to thank them for making a difference.  We have very faithful volunteers and prayer warriors that meet monthly and are called Friends of the Mission.  This group of people are amazing, are high energy, unbelievably honest and so, so caring.  They meet the first Tuesday of each month in our Chapel at 11:30am. They eat lunch together, hear a testimony, listen to us talk about upcoming Mission events and they finish the meeting by participating in a service project.

     This past Month, we were blessed by a testimony from Ariel who lives at the Lydia House, speaking about the path that brought her to Open Door Mission.   I have seen Ariel around campus, but had not had the opportunity to hear her story.   She talked to us about tough times growing up as she turned to drugs after being raped as a teenager.  She became a mother at 18 and again at 21.  Eventually her children were taken away and she ended up getting arrested and running away from Drug Court.  BUT, she turned herself in.  When she chose to turn herself in, it was the beginning of good changes in her life.  In jail, she got involved in a Bible Study and after some time when she saw the judge, she was granted early release to come to Open Door Mission.  This is where it gets good.  The rest of the message that Ariel gave was about how she KNOWS that God loves her, how she is growing in her relationship with Christ and how that relationship is changing everything!  She is seeing her children regularly and rebuilding her relationship with them.  She plans on going to college to become a counselor and wants to help others.  

     It takes a LOT to stand on a stage with 60+ people staring at you and share your story.  It’s hard to admit failures and talk about struggles.  It’s difficult to be open and honest with strangers and lay it all out there.  Yet, this is what Ariel managed to do, to share with us so that she could get to the part of the story that is current, where Jesus is in her life and is giving her HOPE each and every day.   

     I was honored to be there at that Friends of the Mission meeting to get to hear Ariel’s story, to tear up with her as she talked about early life, to feel the joy and confidence about where she is at now in life and to pray with the Friends of the Mission group for God’s will to be done in Ariel’s life moving forward.

     Come and join us for Friends of the Mission the first Tuesday of each month in the Chapel at 11:30am.  It is time well spent and you will be blessed!

Amy Harvey
Community Relations Director

19 June 2018

God's Got This.

     Do you ever have one of those days where nothing goes right? Yesterday, from the moment I woke up, chaos ensued and trended into the work day. Mondays, am I right? 
     I took a moment to breathe, prayed for a bit, answered some emails, and prepared for my Monday class with students from the prep and basic (two different levels in the New Life Recovery Program) ladies. I missed a few weeks due to various reasons, so I wanted to reacquaint myself with the material. Also, I have never taught with both prep and basic together in class! We were on week 4 of lesson plans which I read through, prayed about, and prepared answers for. 
     When entering the Lydia House, I was greeted by a warm "You're back!" which was good to hear. Even if they don't realize, I missed seeing them every week. Doing life with these ladies is one of my favorite parts of my job. 
     We watch DVDs in class, and in order to watch these discs, I must have the remotes. Could you guess what happened next? I bet you can.... 
     I cannot find these remotes ANYWHERE. I put three women on the hunt. Class starts at 9:30 and by 9:35 I cannot find them. My first time back in WEEKS, my first time with over half of the students in the room. This was not an ideal situation. Without remotes, there is no class, unless we started the dvds all over again. I felt out of control of the situation, not prepared, and quite frankly, a little frazzled (the events of the day were quickly piling up). 
     One of the women suggested, "We can just start over again. I don't mind. And most of the ladies in here haven't seen the material before week 4." 
     It is normally not my policy to start from the beginning again (due to the way the course is set up), yet for some reason, this idea stuck. I felt it put on my heart that it was a good idea to start over. I didn't look much into that heart feeling, I just wanted class to start! 
     After receiving the okay from the entire class to start at the beginning, I put in the dvd. The class was running behind, we did not get the chance to do introductions, but we watched the disc material. After the dvd portion of class, the floor opened up for discussion. We had a great talk, but unfortunately was not long enough. 
     I sat after class disappointed in myself. Reviewing how class could have gone smoother, how if the remotes were found, class could have gone on as it should have. Praying and asking God why class was so rocky on my first week back with all of these new ladies. I wanted to make a good impression, to show them I am on their team and I had no chance to do so! 
    God truly enjoys showing up in those moments and this was of no exception. I had a young lady leave after class and come back in. I apologized for how class went, that next week would be better. She looks at me and said it was okay. 
     I asked how she was doing and she said, "I'm not doing so great. Someone close to me just died. At first I was sad. Now i'm just really angry. So i'm glad we started the dvds over again." (Did I mention this class is Anger Management!?) 
     We were able to have a conversation on the content of what was said on the dvd and talked about how it was applicable to her life in this moment. I asked her if we could pray together, and she said yes. So we were able to pray for her loved one together and what a beautiful moment of God's goodness. I am so thankful for her and that moment! 
     Even in the utter chaos or when you don't feel you are in control, I myself am still learning that God is in control. He knew a young lady in class needed to hear the message of disc 1 Anger Management over again. And without the remotes going missing, that would not have happened. He knew the needs of every lady in that class including mine. I am thankful for His reminder! 

     The takeaway? God's got this. 

Lauren Catlett
Communications Specialist

18 June 2018

New ID!

You are looking at the proud owner of a NEW Nebraska ID!

Ruby is so proud of this accomplishment. It had been 10 years since she had her last ID
because of lost documents from other states. 

She was patient in the process and she got it!

Thank you Jesus!  Now, on to housing!!

Felicia Bauldwin 
Case Manager

15 June 2018

Candace's Birthday!

     Candace's 50th birthday is around the corner and at the quarterly staff Sermon on the Mount, we surprised Candace by hijacking the meeting which was about JOY and celebration, God's perfect timing on the message we heard.  

     We worshiped together with Josh Smith, Heartland Hands Coordinator, leading, listened to a good message about being a JOYFUL Christian,  blew bubbles, did the hokey pokey, threw beach balls, did fellowship together eating ice cream and cup cakes. It was a fun time of praising the Lord and having fun with co-workers. 

     We collected over 7,000 bottles of water, that is 7,000 guests who will have a nice cold bottle of water because of YOU!!!! WAY TO GO!!!! We went way over our original ask of 50 cases. THANK YOU!!!!

Amy Buss
Human Resources Director

14 June 2018

Highs and Lows

     This job is not always easy and at some points,  there are a lot of lows. So, I make sure to take time to celebrate the high points of peoples lives when they are shared with me. 

- I have messages from a tenant who is moving out. He is moving into a house he is buying. High point!

- I have a friend whose aunt and uncle were just killed in a car wreck. Low point. 

- I have messages from a volunteer who's kids are getting married and getting jobs and doing well! High point. 

- I have men elaving our program from bad decisions they continue in. Low point. 

- I have a guest who completed step 4 with their sponsor and their whole outlook on life has shifted towards hope happiness. High point.

In our prayers, we need to pray for the Highs and Lows of those we serve and serve with. 

In our interactions, we need to remember that people are on highs and lows in their life and that different people are on highs, and others on lows. I challenge you to think and pray on it. 

Taylor Clinch 
Rebuilding Lives Center Director

13 June 2018

Salvation at the Mission

     Our guests on the emergency side at the Garland Thompson Men's Center (GTMC) had a wonderful house meeting tonight. Dillon, one of the Mission's Floor Support Workers, did a great job opening the meeting with compassion, appreciation and needed instruction.
     Yususfu, another one of the Mission's Floor Support Workers, also challenged the men in a truthful and kind way to have good attitudes.
     I felt led to share from Romans 15:13, How the God of Hope can give us joy, peace and hope as we believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior, and shared a brief gospel message. Five men said they prayed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. Three of our guests came to see me in my office for spiritual growth and deeper commitments to Christ right after the house meeting, and one of them was given a Bible.

     Thanks for praying, believing and working for the eternal glory of Jesus our great God and Savior.

Ed Schoenberger
GTMC Support Worker

11 June 2018

A Note of Encouragement

     I just wanted to drop a short note: 

    I want to explain how important the Mission is for some guys that are down and out, and even "lost."
     The way I see it, Open Door Mission is a BIG opportunity and definitely is a pick-me-up! For example when mom and dad say, "Okay son get out there and make it happen." Your parents gave you the security you needed to be able to do that. That's what Open Door Mission does and has been doing for so many. 
     I am so grateful that people come to work at the Mission so that I am able to be clean and safe at night, not hungry and afraid. 
     This people who work here are a Blessing, that you give so others can find their way! 

In the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior. 

Daniel Kat

08 June 2018

In Times of Trouble

     The staff and volunteers pray with people who come to the Timberlake Outreach Center to shop quite often.
     Last week, volunteer Linda (pictured) and I prayed for God to help an older lady who was so afraid she couldn’t pay this month's rent. She came back a couple of days later filled with joy and excitement that God answered and the money was provided! She came in especially to tell us her testimony.
     The power of our Lord and concern for each of us fills me with joy! I am reminded of this verse. “Trust Me in your times of trouble and I will rescue you. And you will give ME glory!” Psalms 50:15.   
     It is a joy and blessing to serve with volunteers like Linda. 

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

07 June 2018

Through the Fire

     Terri once worked in the nursing field and lost certifications due to multiple DUIs. She had been working at Old Navy this past year, thinking that was all she could ever do. She struggled to sometimes even get 20 hours per week and would always pick up any extra shifts to have a shot at a decent check. 
     After the holidays, she met with someone at her church that specializes in marketing individuals. This woman updated Terri's resume (for free!) and encouraged her. Terri left with the confidence that she can get back into more meaningful work despite her past. 
     She began to search and apply for jobs in the social service field. Terri had interviews and screenings but all ended in rejection.
     The other week, she was at a low. She had for a second considered going back to live with her husband (very, very toxic) because that was the easier option. She wouldn't have to worry about money, but would be back in an environment that would lead her back to drinking. We spoke about being tested in times where it feels like nothing is working out or God is not really seeing us. We talked about being others focused and praying for her husband, that he come to know God like she has. 
     After our conversation, she had a casual style interview with Release Ministries. The interviewer's father had been in recovery for many years, so she knew Terri's struggle. This position is a new one at Release Ministries so it may not have even existed when Terri began to apply for jobs. 

I know God saw and heard Terri's cries. He honored her for going through the fire, not around it!

Liana Martinez
Case Manager

06 June 2018

Girl Scout Tour

     I love Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts (especially Eagle candidates). They are dedicated to serving their community. It is always a delight to give these scouts tours of Open Door Mission so they can see first-hand what we do. Most of the time they are surprised to see all we do.
     Recently I gave Girl Scout Troop 41403 a Saturday morning tour. I was told they would have lots of questions and they did! Before the troop started their tour, they donated handmade fleece blankets and five cases of Girl Scout cookies, always a favorite. The girls very engaged in learning all they could about the Mission. They had insightful questions and comments. Some of my favorites are:

“The guys here are so nice and polite.”
“I would never want to leave this room (the Bright Space at Lydia House).”
“How do you get all the food you need?”
“Everyone we have seen seems happy and says hello to us.”
“You mean everything is free to those that come? (Timberlake Outreach Center)”
“How can we help Open Door Mission?”

     By giving tours, especially to young people, we can let them see for their self how easy it is to help change lives. They began to become engaged in community service and volunteering. They will often encourage parents to join them and that brings more people to a better understanding of homelessness and how to help. At their schools, they advocate for Open Door Mission and how the students can make a difference. These young people become “ambassadors” for Open Door Mission and their compassion ripples out to the community. Would you like your youth group learn more about Open Door Mission? Call, we would love to give you a tour. 

Maggie Cope
Gift In Kind Coordinator

05 June 2018

God is ALWAYS On the Move

     As we were coming to and end of the day, I experienced something awesome. My spirit rejoices as God gives us the opportunity to serve with humble hearts. A lady came to me asking me for forgiveness because when she came last time she said she lied to me and she felt guilty for that. (some of our customers feel the need to lie so that we can feel sorry for them to get extras of what we have)
     I looked at her and said, "This is great, I am so happy for you. Not because you lied to me, but you are here now recognizing that you did something wrong and that means just one thing. God is 
working in you, and I praise God for it!" 
     Of course we prayed and then she left. This is what we as servants of the Great I Am pray all the time here at the Timberlake Outreach Center, that God prepares the hearts of our guests so that the Holy Spirit will guide them to receive the new life the He offers. 
     I remembered what Candace Gregory, Open Door Mission's CEO said to me once. "We do our part the best we can with love and not letting doubt become between us and God. If the person we serve is not saying the truth, it is not up to us to judge but to love. It is between God and them." This was a real encounter of that. Praise the Lord He is just.  

Evelyn Valdez
Bilingual Intake Worker

04 June 2018

Graduates Giving Back

     This young man, Dillon, came to us 228 days ago. We all knew it was going to be a journey from the first day we met him. 
     As Dillon stayed at Open Door Mission, we could see he wanted to get his life back on track. He worked hard and had a purpose each day. 
     Garland Thompson Men's Center staff and Community Alliance Peer Support Specialist, Scott McDowell, worked diligently to get this young man an ID, to apply and see disability come through with a payee, and find him housing in a group home that will work directly with his needs. 
     It is amazing when you see everything come together through the work of the Holy Spirit. A big shout out and thank you to Mr. McDowell - one of our New Life Recovery Program graduates that gives back to Open Door Mission every day.

Pat McKernan
Garland Thompson Men's Center Director

01 June 2018

Professions of Faith

     To God alone be the glory that in the last two days nine people total made professions of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. These were eight men and one lady. Most of the men were emergency guests at the Garland Thompson Men's Center and the young lady was from Lydia house at a chapel service. 
     The glorious Gospel of Christ is truly powerful, Romans 1:16! One man who accepted Jesus cried tears of joy and relief after praying and said, "I feel like the Grinch that stole Christmas when his heart grew bigger." I replied "That's because you're a new creature in Christ," I quoted 2 Corinthians 5:17 and had him read it himself. He also has assurance that he now has eternal life all because of God's wondrous and amazing grace.
     I also went over follow up scripture with him from 1 John 5:11-13 and the basics of growing in Christ and gave him a Bible. I gave out other Bibles to these new believers and encouraged them to read God's Holy Word daily as this is our spiritual food to help us grow. 
     Thanks for all of your prayers, love and service for the eternal glory of Jesus and His everlasting kingdom, and lets keep praying that these precious new believers in Jesus will become fruitful disciples of Jesus, maturing in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

God is good and faithful, Lamentations 3:22-23, Psalm 115:1

Ed Schoenberger
Support Worker